The Art of Non-Conformity Comes to St. John’s

I only learned about Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity book tour last week, and found out he was starting off the Canadian leg of his journey in St. John’s. What better place to start? I have really only been following Chris’s blog for a month or so now, after reading about him on Matador and in a few other places. So I reached out to him and embarrassingly confessed I hadn’t read his latest book or any of his e-books, but I wanted to get involved with his tour, and you know what? He totally didn’t care I hadn’t read his stuff.

So I rounded up a few people and went to meet him at Chapters tonight. When I invited people along, I had to convince them it wasn’t some kinda hippie convention where we’d sit around eating granola and talking about the war on terror. It was tough…throw “non-conformity” into a conversation and people bolt for the door.

Check out Maggies stellar whale art.

Check out Maggie's stellar whale art.

There was a group of 10 people or so there, a few bloggers and a few other curious folks, and we had a great little chit-chat accompanied by cupcakes and cookies. Chris talked about his book for maybe 15 minutes, explained some of his ideals, and then left the floor open to us. We shifted uncomfortably. Finally someone asked a question about travel, and then it was like all our ideas fell out of our head in one long string of conversation. We laughed, we cried. We held hands. *

The Art of Non-Conformity is the product of Chris’s years of blogging and becoming a self-sustaining, worldwide traveler with an emphasis on the belief that we can do great things for people while also doing great things for ourselves. “Selfish generosity,” he calls it.

The thing I like about Chris is that he is completely devoid of pretention. I live my life trying to run away from pretention (I’m not entirely guilt-free), and I respect anyone who has the ability to carve their own path without becoming all high-and-mighty about it. Chris took some time to talk with me personally and to get to know me, which means the world to me. Life is freaking terrifying sometimes, and knowing there are people around to back me up is a nice comfort.

Plus I was allowed to stamp his books. Go me!

Why yes, I do always look this maniacal when surrounded by books and famous people!!!!!!

Why yes, I do always look this maniacal when surrounded by books and famous people!!!!!!

Get a hold of yourself, Candice.

Get a hold of yourself, Candice.

When things were wrapping up, I started talking to a few people. Some asked me for my business card, one or two other people suddenly spoke up to say they had been reading me for awhile. I was kinda stunned. The funny thing is, while I’ve been promoting my blog all around the Interwebs, I haven’t made much effort to put it out into the St. John’s community. Perhaps this year I’ll make my blog public. Another fear to get over, I suppose.

Chris is stopping in every province to meet up with other rule breakers and badasses, so check him out if he’s in your town! Bring cupcakes.

*Some truth may be stretched.

  • January 10 2011

    OMG!
    I think that doodle underneath my whale is signal hill!!! ALL NIGHT I’VE BEEN WONDERING WTF THAT WAS!
    aaahhh… I can sleep easy now, puzzlement solved…. no idea why i needed to see the photo in your blog post to figure it out, but there you have it..

    anyway, I’m very glad you told me about the event, I very much enjoyed it :D I especially enjoyed when Chris was so surprised by the “everyone should get a chance to colour the map!” idea… St John’s was definitely a great choice for the first Canadian stop ;D
    (okay, I lied, my favourite part was when he shared those cookies with us… SO DELICIOUS! om nom nom.)

    Never heard of him until you told me about this event, but I’m definitely following him now :) big thumbs up for non-pretentious book people!

  • January 10 2011

    oh, by the by, PS – you should totally make it part of your 2011 goals to tell your mum about this blog. Just sayin’. FREE YOURSELF.

  • January 10 2011

    Very cool! I missed his LA stop, but I’m psyched you got to meet him!

    • January 13 2011

      If you ever get a chance, make sure you get out to see him!

  • January 10 2011

    haha Great post Candice, so mechanical!
    Glad to hear he was a good guy, fingers crossed work isn’t crazy tomorrow and I get to meet him on his next stop in Halifax! woo! :)

    • January 13 2011

      Glad you did. :D I put in a good word, hehe.

  • January 10 2011

    Is that a basket of muffins that no one ate, OMG how pretentious. In other news you’re more famous than you think you are – give those cards out like halloween candy, don’t be affraid of it, it’s just paper.

    • January 11 2011

      um, pretty sure I ate 6 of those lil’ cupcakes. . .

    • January 13 2011

      Hahahaha, it’s true, I have far too many business cards leftover. And don’t worry, we totally took care of the muffins.

  • January 10 2011

    the book sounds like an interesting read, i will get it

    • January 13 2011

      Awesome, Zablon! Hope you enjoy.

  • January 11 2011

    I love his blog, he has a lot of really inspiring but practical advice, figures he’d come to Canada when I’m not there.

    Chris if you’re reading – come to South America!

    • January 13 2011

      Hehe, I’m shocked he made it to St. John’s. Nobody ever comes here.

  • January 11 2011

    He’s amazing, huh? So awesome your paths were able to cross!

    • January 13 2011

      I know, did not expect him to come this far east!

  • January 11 2011

    I went to see Chris when he brought his tour to Burlington, VT. He’s so soft-spoken and down to earth! I didn’t want to admit that I hadn’t read any of his books either, just his blog. I still haven’t bought the book, and shame on me for that. I really need to. I’m glad you had a chance to experience the tour, too!

    • January 13 2011

      Oh, I hope you do! I’m halfway through now and it’s really good. Gets me all fired up.

  • January 11 2011

    You maniacal book stamping ninja! It is cool that you got to hang with Chris, way to take the lead and organize a group outing…my hero!

    • January 13 2011

      Unfortunately I didn’t get to show him any of George Street…sad! But I think I did a good job with the stamping. :)

  • January 11 2011

    Chris’ blog is always such an inspiration to read. I put my name down for the Calgary meetup, but with the weather Edmonton has been having I don’t know I’ll be able to make it.

    • January 13 2011

      Ooh, do try! It’s worth the trek.

  • January 11 2011

    I have similar fears about certain others reading my blog, but it has leaked out over the past six months so that most people I never wanted to read it now do so. It actually means I have a more honest dialogue with them now.

    Maybe it’s time you let your mum read your blog. :)

    • January 13 2011

      Yeah, I can see that, and I’m fairly positive I will. :) Good to know, Adam.

  • January 11 2011

    I started reading his stuff when we first started blogging and loved it. For some reason I haven’t been to his site in a while. Thanks for the reminder about The Art of Non Conformity. His blog is filled with a lot of great information and I am going to reread all his stuff beginning…now.

    • January 13 2011

      It’s a good kick in the pants when you’re feeling discouraged about stuff, trust me! I highly recommend the book as well.

  • January 12 2011

    Hey Candace! You’re amazing. It was so fun to hang out with you and the group the other night — a great start to the Canada tour. And you did a great job with the book-stamping! Very professional. :)

    All the best and happy travels,

    cg

    • January 13 2011

      Thanks Chris, it was a pleasure meeting you! Glad you made it to the east coast, next time you must come longer! Good luck on the rest of your journey.

  • January 12 2011

    You always look like you’re having such a good time in all your pictures. Mischievous, contagious smile :)

    • January 13 2011

      Aww, thank you Lauren! Such a compliment. I really was having fun!

  • January 13 2011

    Lol! It does sound like it would be an odd “hippie convention where we’d sit around eating granola and talking about the war on terror” – I went to his Tampa stop on the tour and loved all of the people he brought out of the woodwork in my area – other travelers and location independent people I hadn’t yet connected with on Twitter, it was swell :)

    • January 18 2011

      Ain’t that the beauty of events like these?! I made some new friends too, loved it. :)

  • January 18 2011

    “You maniacal book stamping ninja!”….LMAO!!

    Great post Candice and we’re waiting for Chris to cross the pond on a tour too. We’re definitely big AONC fans at non-conformist Matador :)

  • January 18 2011

    Hahaha, loved that comment as well. Thanks! Chris DOES fit rather nicely into our Matador mission. :)

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